It isn’t unusual for an auto company to pay serious attention to its most popular and largest selling vehicle when redesigning and reconfiguring the next edition. That is such the case as we test drive the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. Designers, engineers and marketing folks put all they have on the table as they planned, and set to manufacturing the new Silverado. Each one involved knew this is not one to screw up. All vehicles in a company’s line up are important and must contain as many features that buyers want. Well as much content as possible. No vehicle is more important to Chevrolet, and for that matter General Motors, than their pickups.
Ride and comfort in today’s pickups has risen to the top like cream on milk, as one feature buyers are looking for. The caveat here is it’s a truck and owners want it do Chevy truck things. Fortunately the all new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado does all of that and more. According to the folks we talked to during the recent introduction drive, this truck will tow upward of 11,500 pounds and get as much as 22 miles per gallon (not towing) on the highway.
We drove two drive train versions, (the third and largest 6.2-liter will come later this year) the 4.3-liter V-6 and the 5.3-liter V-8. Both of these engine choices are fitted to a 6-speed automatic with tow haul mode and manual mode. Whether towing a load or just cruising along in casual mood we could not find much to fault the new Silverado. In fact, we were quite impressed at the refinement and finish we found in the cabin.
Chevrolet has stepped up to the plate and hit it over the wall achieving a low level of squeaks and rattles. Actually we found one rattle and it turned out to be our cell phone sitting in the center console, an easy fix, in our pocket it went.
The new four-door configuration has received a great deal of attention in getting it more use comfortable. One place we saw a major benefit is the rear door aperture. Chevrolet has cured the problem of easily getting big cowboy boot shod feet through the door into the rear seat. Moving the “B” pillar forward four inches has made an expansive opening.
Getting rid of all those annoying squeaks and rattles is not easy, but Chevrolet engineers made it easier by adding a slew of high strength steel to the structure. They also added stiffer rubber supports while adding in hydraulically dampened rubber mounts that help immensely. We were pleasantly surprised at the Silverado’s comfort and capability.
More and more attention is placed on the infotainment systems of all our vehicles and the Silverado is no exception. Count them, no fewer than five USB connectivity ports and three 12-volts outlets plus a 115-volt household type plug and a SD card reader slot. There is no reason for anyone to go without a way to connect their high-tech instruments no matter the type. Chevy designers even thought of a convenient place for your iPad with a nice slot in the ultra-large center console.
We tested the Silverado’s towing acumen with various loads from a 5,000 pound travel trailer to an 8,500 pound skid loader. With the heavier load we knew the trailer was tagging along with a slight push or pull as we got on and off the throttle. Still, the Silverado tracked true and without complaint. With the 5.3-liter V-8 we were able to pull long, steep grades and accelerate from stops easily and could easily keep up with the flow of traffic on the freeway.
If we had any reservations at all, it would be with the V-6 while towing. Yes, it can accomplish the task, but we would not want to do this more than occasionally. If you are planning on doing more than the intermittent tow, step up to the 5.3 V-8 engine. You will not sacrifice much in overall mileage and you will be a whole lot happier with your towing experience.